Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, known as the Duomo of Florence, is one of the most famous churches in Italy. When it was completed, in the 15th century, it was the largest church in the world, while today it is the third in Europe after St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London.
In 1294, the Commune of Florence orders the construction of a new cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore (St. Mary of the Flower). Two years later, the architect Arnolfo di Cambio is comissioned to design the cathedral, but he dies a few years later.
In 1334, Giotto di Bondone was appointed as the architect of the cathedral. In the same year, he starts the building of the bell-tower. Three years later, Giotto dies.
Between 1337 and 1343, the works are supervised by Andrea Pisano, but he is banished from Florence and Francesco Talenti takes his place. Talenti alters Arnolfo’s design and completes the bell-tower in 1359. After 1366, Giovanni di Lapo Ghini joins him.
In 1420, Filippo Brunelleschi wins the competition for building the cathedral’s dome, opens the construction site and, 16 years later, in 1436, the dome is completed and Pope Eugene IV consecrates the catheral of Santa Maria del Fiore.
The decoration of the exterior began in the 14th century and it was finished in 1887, by Emilio De Fabris and Luigi del Moro.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore stands out for its monumental dimensions. The cathedral has a length of 153 metres and a width of 38 metres. The height of the arches in the aisles is 23 metres and the height of the dome is 114.5 metres.
Due to the long span of temporal execution, from the foundation to the 19th century completion, there are some considerable stylistic differences between its parts, but the neo-gothic façade made from red, white and green marble forms a harmonious ensemble together with Giotto’s bell-tower and the Baptistery.
On top of the façade are niches with the twelve Apostles and, in the middle, the Madonna with Child.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is located in Piazza del Duomo. The closest bus station is Studio, on Line C1 and C3, about 30 meters away.